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Many of us have grappled with insecurity and embarrassment about having cellulite. We fixate on it while getting dressed for work or coming out of the shower, and it ruins our fun when trying on new clothes in front of a mirror. Point is, it’s there, we have it and damn, do we notice it.
Cellulite is part of life for billions of people and is very normal, but that doesn’t stop some of us from wanting to get rid of it. And that’s okay. We shouldn’t be shamed of having it, and we shouldn’t feel guilty for wanting our bodies to look a certain way. As normal as cellulite is, there’s nothing wrong with doing what we can to reduce it if we choose.
Is Cellulite Normal?
Yes! And when we say cellulite is normal, we’re not kidding. A reported 85% of women over the age of 21 have it. So yeah, it’s very normal. But that doesn’t stop the judgments.
Recently, Camila Cobello, singer and co-writer of the hit “Havana”, was snapped on the beach by paparazzi and passersby. Soon after, she was slammed in the media for having cellulite and being “too fat”.
If this award-winning pop star’s powerful response can teach us anything, it is that the only person who needs to embrace the way you look, and the way you are, is you.
What is Cellulite?
Here’s the reality: scientifically, cellulite is a type of fat, but it doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with being fat. It affects people of all body shapes and sizes, from plus-sized to ultra thin. And if you have it, you can keep losing and losing weight, and still never be cellulite free.
That being said, managing your weight and making a few other healthy lifestyle choices can significantly reduce the appearance of cellulite. And again, there’s no reason to feel bad about wanting to try.
So for those interested in safe, healthy alternatives to expensive cellulite-reduction treatments, here are five lifestyle changes that can reduce those frustrating dimples.
Drink more water
Dr. Howard Murad is a dermatologist based in Los Angeles who frequently treats celebs for cellulite. He has turned prevailing assumptions upside down by seeing cellulite as a problem not with fat, but with the upper layers of skin.
Dr. Murad’s idea is that the fat cells that cause skin dimpling should be lying deeper in the skin structure, out of sight. However, when your skin is dehydrated, these (often very tiny) fat deposits migrate further up toward the surface to form, you guessed it, cellulite.
Not all health and fitness pros buy into Dr. Murad’s theory, but most of them see a connection between dehydration and cellulite. Australian fitness model Emily Skye is one of the many who say that not drinking enough water leads to an increased appearance of cellulite.
So what exactly is the right amount of water to drink on a daily basis? We often hear that the recommended daily amount is 2 liters to ensure that our bodies, skin and brains are receiving the hydration they need. Another common recommendation is 1 milliliter of water for every calorie you consume, which comes out to 2 liters with a 2000-calorie diet.
The truth is, no one really knows the perfect amount of water to drink daily, and it definitely depends on temperature, your activity level and what you eat. Vegetables contain way more water than meat does, for example.
The safest bet is to bring a filled water bottle with you everywhere you go. The bottle will act as a gentle reminder to consistently consume your H2O throughout the day. A little common sense goes a long way, too. If you have no sensation of thirst at all, there’s a good chance you’re nicely hydrated. If you haven’t had any urge to pee in six hours, get drinking.
Brush and exfoliate
Our bodies have this thing called the lymphatic drainage system, which basically helps flush out toxins and waste from our tissues. When we have bloating or swelling of our lymph tissues, cellulite tends to become more obvious.
Okay, that’s all well and good, but how exactly does one go about decreasing the bloating of one’s lymph nodes?
One way is by dry brushing and exfoliating problem areas.
Some researchers believe that when we exfoliate and dry brush our skin, we stimulate blood flow and help the lymphatic drainage system do its thing. By doing this consistently over time, we make our lymphatic systems more efficient. A more efficient lymph system means less swelling, and less swelling means less visible cellulite.
In case you’re wondering which dry body brush or exfoliating products are best for reducing cellulite, don’t fret. Here’s a list of acclaimed online products that should help you get started!
Body scrubs/ exfoliators
Majestic Pure Himalayan Salt Body Scrub
Bear in mind that if you have very sensitive skin or a condition like eczema, dry brushing or exfoliation might not be for you. Good news – home massages and acupuncture can be just as effective for improving circulation and lymphatic drainage!
“Eat well” is probably the most well-worn piece of advice for anything health and wellness related, and yeah, that’s because it works. When it comes to managing cellulite, a few good food choices can make a big difference.
For example, by staying away from sugary drinks and processed foods, you make life much easier for your lymphatic system. A happier lymph network will be in better shape to get rid of toxins. And fewer toxins mean reduced cellulite.
The right diet can also help to prevent skin and tissue damage – issues that can increase cellulite. This means eating lots of fruits, vegetables and other foods rich in antioxidants.
Examples include goji berries and other berries, dark chocolate (yay!), kale, grapes, pecans and other nuts. And remember, eating fruits and veggies helps you stay hydrated, too!
Just remember that healthy eating isn’t about being perfect. You still have to live your life, and sometimes it seems nearly impossible to avoid preservatives and additives. As long as you make as many good food choices as you can, while striking a healthy balance with doing what you have to do, that’s enough. Don’t let trying to eat healthier stress you out, because…
Research has shown an interesting connection between high stress and the increased appearance of cellulite.
According to studies reported in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, an increase in adrenaline and noradrenaline hormones leads to inflammation in the body. Increased inflammation in turn leads to increased production of cellulite.
What does this have to do with stress? It just so happens that carrying a high level of stress is a major trigger for your body to crank out adrenaline.
So when you’re looking for ways to reduce that dimply look on your thighs, don’t forget to consider your emotional health right alongside physical things like food and hydration. Take stock of how you are feeling each day – are you irritable, worried or tense?
If you suspect that stress may be an issue for you, here are some great ways to unwind and relax.
Hit the gym. Or sidewalk. Or mall. Just move.
Now, don’t worry – we’re not going to pressure you to implement a strict exercise regimen. But a bit of movement is good for every aspect of your health and life, from your soul to your skin. Just choosing to stroll down to your favorite shops instead of driving can be a big deal.
Why? Because any physical activity will help stimulate blood and lymph flow throughout your body, including your skin, helping to reduce the appearance of cellulite.
If your cellulite doesn’t bother you, that’s wonderful – and it sure as heck shouldn’t bother anyone else! But if you want to take a crack at reducing cellulite, that’s great, too. And since all of these suggestions will improve your health and well-being generally, you have nothing to lose except a few skin dimples.